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Huh? If you remove the files from the copy of Google drive on your disk, they get removed on the web. It's one "drive." That's KIND OF THE WHOLE POINT. It's not poor user design.

That they go to the trash is good user design, to prevent users from doings things like this guy did...




No, the point is that if you see a bunch of ".gdoc" files on your computer, and you move them to another directory on your computer, you would reasonably expect that those files contain the document data, not that they're merely "pointers" to online data. That's "kind of the whole point", as you yell.

I agree that the user wasn't being super-careful, but it's entirely reasonable to think that, if Google docs appear on your local hard drive, that they are files that can be manipulated just like any others, and that copying/moving them to another folder would preserve their data.


The links thing is stupid, but it does tell you. http://i.imgur.com/ijTQTTq.png


Users can't read anything, and if they could, they wouldn't want to:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/uibook/chapters/fog0000000062....


Yeah, I think it's disingenous that the OP didn't mention that warning message, or the screenshot.

I still feel bad for him - but the warning clearly says:

"An item you recently removed from your Google Drive folder has been moved to your trash on drive.google.com.

This item is just a link. If you empty your trash on drive.google.com, this item will be permanently deleted."


That screenshot really ought to be in the original link. Kinda changes how bad I feel about this.


Yeah, I don't get this part. The user moved the files from google drive to his local disk. Aren't the files therefore still on his local disk?

EDIT: re read article . Moving files into local disk deletes them on google drive and makes the moved versions useless links. Now agree with the author: that's goddamned terrible.

EDIT 2: actually the files are always links, but if the links are moved outside google drive the correspondi go data is moved into Google drive trash. See jamesaguilar below. Still goddamned terrible.


No, the files in your drive "look like" they are files, but they are actually just links. So him moving them to the local disk did not actually copy the files to local disk.

The real failure here is that you shouldn't be able to move the drive links out of the drive folder, since semantically that does not actually move the files.

(Filed a bug, but I'm not on the Drive team so I can't really take responsibility for this getting fixed. It does seem like a problem to me, but I don't know their infrastructure nor the limitations of shell extensions, so I can't really comment on whether a fix is feasible either.)


> The real failure here is that you shouldn't be able to move the drive links out of the drive folder, since semantically that does not actually move the files.

Or stop trying to force a connection between Google Drive's file view and Google Docs.

Move the links out of GDrive all you want, it should have no effect whatsoever on the hosted GDocs. They're just links, after all. Since when does moving or deleting a link delete actual data?

Someone at Google tried to force a connection that doesn't even make sense, and this is the result. Whoever decided that moving a link out of a folder should delete the hosted document should be fired.


Well said...


That's not how Google drive works: the gDocs "files" stored on your computer are not actually files, they're just links to files that are accessible on google drive. to test this you can turn off your router (or just disconnect from the internet) and then try opening a gDoc, you'll get a "cannot connect" error.

There is very little you can do about this, google is okay with it because there's no official offline gDocs viewer/editor so in their minds it doesn't make sense to fill up your harddrive with real files that can't even be accessed on your computer. Also they warn you that those files aren't real under certain circumstances (I've seen the warning before, though I don't remember the context).


It's interesting to see comments like this. The implementation is so awful that people literally do not believe it. They subconsciously dismiss what happened and come up with an alternative that makes sense.


"... the .gdoc files are just empty links with no data. I see a list of everything I wrote in Google Docs, but can never see the actual content again."

Google does not sync the data to you, just a tiny file with the same name as your data that bounces you to the website.


When you're moving a document off some drive, you expect a moved copy to work.


Except for the part when they tell you.

http://i.imgur.com/ijTQTTq.png


Heh, "tell you". The part that matters is in the secondary part of the alert and is only a single sentence. It's buried among all the other, less important stuff. And even then, "This item is just a link." is not very clear at all. Without already knowing how this stuff works, I can't say that I'd necessarily understand the meaning here.

What this alert needs to say is something like this:

WARNING: you have moved this file out of Google Drive WHICH HAS DELETED IT. The file that you moved does not contain your content. It is merely a link back to the original content WHICH IS NOW IN THE TRASH. EMPTYING YOUR TRASH WILL PERMANENTLY DELETE THE DATA AND THE FILE WHICH YOU MOVED DOES NOT CONTAIN A COPY OF IT.

They're destroying the user's data in a scenario where they would not expect it. A teeny little warning buried in an alert filled with other stuff simply does not cut it.

The fact that you need lots of DIRE CAPITALIZED TEXT to get the point across shows, I think, that this whole system is a bad idea.


If you work on client programs, you know or should know that users don't read. It's important to prevent them from easily doing dumb stuff (where a single "do dumb stuff anyway" button does not really count as sufficient deterrence -- because it's not dumb from the user's perspective, it's only "dumb" if you know the internals).


Well, if not clear to the users, then it isn't good UI -- even if it's obvious to you.


By this logic, you can trivially prove any UI to be a bad design. Find a single person who finds it unclear, and voila: the UI must be bad.

As blcknight alluded to, this rule is only relevant when the proportion of users for whom it is an issue is non-trivial.


Yes, we are in agreement. I did not say "one single user".

Regardless, I think it's pretty bad design. I would naturally expect a file named "My Document Name.gdoc" that's sitting in a folder on my desktop to actually contain the contents of my document. That's how files normally work. Doing otherwise goes against longstanding convention.


And most other people, I imagine.

Dropbox would work the same way. Although it might be permanent, but I've never tried something so ridiculous.


I think you missed the part when the original document is not a document, but a link/reference. There's no analogue in Dropbox.


Dropbox lets you recover a file if you've deleted it recently.


Even if the trashcan is emptied?


Even better: items that have been "deleted" don't count toward your storage limit, even if they are recoverable.


How can I restore a permanent deleted file? I can't find the option to do that


I don't think you can... I don't see an "empty trash" button anywhere though. You can't permanent-delete a file just by removing it from a folder on your computer. You have to log in to the website, right-click it, select "delete", click the trash icon at the top of the screen, right-click the file again and select "permanent delete". That's not even close to what happened to OP.


Well, the OP emptied the Google Drive trash can that it is the same than permanent deleting files on Dropbox.


The complaint is that Google Drive's UI is confusing, and can lead to unintentional data loss. Dropbox has a much better UI, and it's harder to lose data by accident.


Ah, yes, it is confusing for Google Docs files


But this is how EVERY DAMN cloud drive works.

It's how EVERY DRIVE in the history of computers work!

If I take my files out of my HD, they will be deleted from the HD. If I move my files out of my flash drive, they will be deleted from my flash drive.

The only way that I would be surprised by this behaviour is if I had never used a computer at all in my life.


But this is how EVERY DAMN cloud drive works.

No. No, it's not. I have experience with Google Drive, iDrive, SkyDrive and DropBox. The only oddball one that leads to losing data like this is Google Drive.

With SkyDrive, it works very similar to DropBox. Your cloud drive is just a folder on your disk, synched between multiple computers. If you move a file from your cloud drive to your local drive, it moves the actual file - not a pointer to it.

Google Drive is a terrible morass of confusing design. It's not an exaggeration to say they should shut down and start over.


Except when you copy files from your hd or flash drive, you except the copies in the new location to actually be files. That's how every drive I've ever used works. That's not how google drive works.


Turn of CAPS LOCK and read the article!

document.gdoc is not a file, you are mistaken




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